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Jeff Newell "NEWell" StemCell Journey

First post: Jun 11, 2018 Latest post: Oct 20, 2018
Where and how to begin.... In 2017 Jeff had been having a series of “weird” health issues....multiple broken ribs from sneezing....on two separate occurrences...a trip to ER with severe kidney pain but could not locate a stone...eventually diagnosed with osteopenia in lower spine resulting in having steroid injections and a series of pain blocks.  At Christmas Jeff just “didn’t feel good”. In January Jeff returned from a trip to CA (to help prepare his dad for his move to VA) sick and in a lot of pain. A late Friday night trip to Urgent Care confirmed he had pneumonia but also wanted to know when and how Jeff had broken 3 vertebrae in his spine? How do you break vertebrae in your back and not know it (other than his back had been killing him). In shock, we knew something was very wrong.  Monday morning our family doctor began tests and 2 days later we were sitting in the Virginia Cancer Center for a “consultation”. January 31st, we got the news- Jeff has cancer. He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and is in need of a Stem Cell Transplant. Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer that attacks the bone marrow and bone tissue weakening the bones and causing them to break. Pneumonia and severe bone pain and fatigue are very common.  The myeloma “smolders” in the bones (called smoldering myeloma) for a period before it presents itself as cancer. Everything now made perfect sense. Devastated, Jeff and I kept the news to ourselves for several weeks. They immediately did Khyloplasty (procedure where they inject cement into the spine to stabilize the broken vertebrae) to relieve the immediate pain. We were immediately referred to University of Virginia in Charlottesville to consult for the Stem Cell Transplant. Jeff is a candidate for an Autologous Stem Cell transplant. Chemotherapy was started immediately, which includes weekly shots and monthly infusions.  He had a complication/setback with a severe blood clot in his leg that moved to his lungs resulting in 2 stays in ICU in April, but is back on schedule and currently in his 4th round of chemo. He has been cleared and scheduled for transplant, which is GREAT news!  June 28th he will begin the shots to stimulate the stem cell growth and July 2nd and 3rd they will harvest/collect the stem cells. The week of July 9th he will be admitted for transplant. The transplant will be done at UVA in Charlottesville and in total is about a 6 week process.  He will be in the hospital for the first 3 weeks and then transitioned to outpatient at UVA for the remaining 3 weeks. I will be staying with Jeff in Charlottesville the entire time. Shay will be going to CA for the summer and staying with Mike and my sister Amy.  Jeff’s brother Rick will be coming to VA to stay at our house while we are gone and to help us hold down the home front. We are so blessed with all of our wonderful family and friends who have already done so much to help us. We can’t begin to thank everyone who has rallied behind us- our family, our awesome neighbors, our CORT family and our Stars baseball family. We have a rough couple of months ahead but we are ready to fight and get Jeff well.  I will do my best to keep everyone updated.  Thank you for all of your prayers, blessings, and positive thoughts! They mean the world to us.  Jeff is a fighter and will beat this!   Our love… Paula & Jeff

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